Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gospel text Sunday 14 April 2013

John 21:1-19       Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go." (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, "Follow me."
Reflection    “...when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” Have you ever visited someone in the hospital, someone who has Parkinson’s disease, ALS, a stroke, severe respiratory issues, or whose body is just plain worn out, and watched as a nurse slips a wide canvas belt aroung their waist, holds onto the free end of the belt then steers the tottering patient for a sluggish lap around the nurses station? Every time I witness this scene Jesus’ admonition to Peter leaps to mind.... “when you grow old...someone else will take you where you do not wish to go.” And I think to myself, yes indeed. And sometimes it happens even before we grow old. 
We are fragil. We never know when life as we know it will change in an instant and someone will be tying a belt around our waist and leading us where we do not wish to go. And so the message I take from this is, live now. Don’t hold back. Throw your nets into the ocean of life. If at first you don’t catch fish, try again. Use the mere snap of life you have to do something worthwhile, like feeding the hungry, finding the lost and sharing Jesus’ invitation to life in abundance for all. Whatever you do, love. Love extravagantly. If you must, tell people three times over that you love them. Build a fire on the beach and love everyone who wanders by. In this way we respond to Jesus' admonition, "Follow me."


  1. Reflections on Debra’s exquisite reflection:
    John 21:1-19

    I’m taken with the continual blindness of those who loved Jesus most. Unable to be aware of him.
    “Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?"
    When Jesus appeared for the third time after his death to his beloveds, he seemed a stranger to them.

    How many times am I too blind to see the Lord standing in front of me...giving to me, loving me...loving everything? Why is Jesus, although plain as day, unrecognizable through the minds eye?
    What does it take for any of us to see miracles... when our definition of a miracle is akin to netting 153 fish, or walking on water, or being raised from the dead?
    What needs to happen before we realize everything and everyone is a miracle to revere with a sacred gratitude? How do we not marvel, each time we take a breath, or awaken from a sleep and be in awe? How do we not know that without God's self giving love neither would have occurred?
    Why is saying I love you to our beloveds over and over again never tiring, and never enough? How does that love naturally manifest itself into a consistent, automatic, set of loving behaviors? How could that love manifest be without the boundless love of God? How would we know love at all without God?

    To me...for all these things to happen, a life of humiliation may be in order, and I’m well into it. However, I know I’m not alone in this (thank God) as God’s plan is gaining momentum with all of this humbling.

    If we want to tend to his sheep, we must be humbled beyond ourselves. We must be humbled to the extent that there is nothing left within us but a vast and unfathomable emptiness. This emptiness is powerful because it is unknowable, immeasurable, and indefinable to our intellect. It has no parameters. It is a vastly, vast less, ALL.
    I imagine that in the space of unknowing there is no hindrance to Gods endless vastless, Peace and Love. Being with that...We may Love without barriers to us and through us, and...We can love extravagantly. When we see others, we can see the miracle that they are, when we taste wine, we know the vine that birthed it, when we walk, we walk in TRUTH, when we love, we love all, when we know God...we know ourselves. There is no longer any need to know anything but that. We will love God every minute, with every breath, with all our heart mind and soul; and this would not be possible had we not surrendered to the pull, taking us where we did not want to go. We had to leave what we think we know. We had to leave who we think we are.

  2. Amen, amen to anonymous. Likewise it has been my experience that the journey to love or unitive consciousness is not other than self-emptying purgation, in plainspeak, humiliation upon humiliation. In the process of ‘being taken where I did not want to go,” dying to old ideas of who I think I am or ought to be and surrendering my clinging and defensiveness, it is as if I am shrouded in, as you say, “a vast and unfathomable emptiness.” In my better moments I experience the emptiness as spaciousness that allows for something new to be, as the ‘place’ wherein dying to self becomes abundance because humiliation is not a reaction to a pitiless reality, it is the gateway to experience the fullness of God. And so I prefer to call the humiliating bits kenosis, the self-emptying that puts me right at the feet of Jesus. There, on my knees, holding nothing back, at least for a moment my blindness is healed and I see Divinity in all. From this nondual or unitive perspective I realize there is no light or dark, empty or full, success or failure, win or lose, “Jew or Greek, slave or free.” There is no seperation. There is just this, the fullness of God and the best I can do is precisely what the Beatles prescribed decades ago, “Let it be” and love extravagantly.